Saturday is 4th Annual Arthritis Walk

Published 10:22 pm Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Fourth Annual Chilton County Arthritis Walk is this Saturday at Chilton Medical Center. Activities begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. followed by the Walk at 9:30.

The Arthritis Walk is a nationwide event set up to raise funds and awareness to fight arthritis, which affects 1.1 million Alabamians including thousands of children. Chilton County volunteers raised around $20,000 last year, and this year the goal has been set even higher.

“Our goal this year is $30,000, and we really need help to reach that goal,” Alabama Development Director Lisa Hemphill said.

Events include a 3-mile walking course, 1-mile course, health and wellness fair, and other activities for the entire family. During the Walk, those affected by arthritis are identified by wearing a blue “hero” hat to signify their action in taking control of their condition.

Hemphill said everyone is welcome to participate because arthritis affects people of all ages from all walks of life.

“Arthritis is not just an old person’s disease,” she said. “It does not discriminate by age, race or sex. The youngest person in Alabama was diagnosed at 8 months and now she is a healthy 9-year-old.”

Even dogs can have arthritis. For this reason, participants are encouraged to bring their dogs to support all dogs with arthritis.

Hemphill said $8,200 has already been raised toward this year’s Walk. That amount includes only donations that can be accounted for.

Where the money goes

The Alabama Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation has provided the following breakdown of how money donated to the foundation through the Arthritis Walk is used:

38 percent goes toward public health education

29 percent goes toward patient and community services

18 percent goes toward research

5 percent goes toward the support of professional education

10 percent covers the costs associated with running the foundation, including fundraising, management and general expenses.

Community-based services and programs are offered by the foundation to empower people to take control over their arthritis and regain physical, mental and emotional health. These services and programs include:

Latest information on arthritis research

Research grants and fellowships

Self-management classes

Public and professional seminars

Literature, books and videos about arthritis, exercise, medications, treatments and related topics

Phone counseling and support group lists

Information on board-certified rheumatologists

Ongoing, land-based and aquatic exercise classes and instructor training

Juvenile arthritis support services including camps for children and families.

Hemphill urges people to participate in the Walk and reminds everyone that there are over 100 forms of arthritis, and there is currently no cure for the disease.

“Arthritis is only going to get worse unless we talk control,” she said.

For more information or to register online, visit or call Hemphill at (334) 244-1179.